We’re back! Spurs get the second half underway. Red Star have made a change at right back, with Jander coming on for Marko Gobeljic.
Half-time entertainment. A few episodes of the magnificent Nessun Dorma pod for your leisure and pleasure. Includes a fine dissection of Ossie Ardiles and the Famous Five, the cult attacking quintet of Teddy Sheringham, Jürgen Klinsmann, Ilie Dumitrescu, Darren Anderton and Nick Barmby. Enjoy!
HALF TIME: Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
And that’s the end of the first half. If you didn’t know better, you could be forgiven for thinking this game has a multi-ball feature. Two amazing pinball sequences, one at each end, both going Tottenham’s way. It’s been great fun. More in ten minutes!
45 min +2: Van la Parra earns a corner for Red Star in the second of two added minutes. Marin floats it in from the left. Pavkov is penalised for pushing. For a second, the home crowd think the referee’s signalling for a penalty. But it’s not to be.
45 min: This has been all Spurs, really, and yet Red Star must wonder how they’ve managed to pass up two gilt-edged invitations to score.
43 min: More pinball madness, this time in the Spurs box! Van la Parra bursts into the box on the right and smacks a shot against the base of the right-hand post. Sanchez, facing his own net, loops the rebound over his own keeper Gazzaniga and off the crossbar! Spurs clear, having got away with that big-style!
42 min: Son earns a corner on the left. He possibly should have laid the ball off for Alli. From the set piece, he tries to mend fences by slipping a pass down the left wing for Alli. Too much juice on the ball, and it’s out for a goal kick. Alli doesn’t look particularly pleased.
41 min: Alli considers a shot from 20 yards, but thinks twice and slips the ball right for Lo Celso, who is brimming with confidence after his goal. We know this because he’s just tried to flick an insouciant shot into the bottom right from the edge of the box, first time, with the outside of his boot. It flies wide, but full marks for ambition.
40 min: Some more space for Kane down the inside right. He floats a chip over Borjan and over the bar. The flag goes up for offside, so it didn’t really matter.
38 min: Lo Celso’s finish was quite sublime, by the way. A cushioned first touch and a deft swish into the top right, calmness personified amid some wild nonsense.
36 min: The previous entry was brought to you by Bally Entertainment.
GOAL! Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Lo Celso 34)
Pinball madness! Lo Celso wins the ball in the midfield and sends Kane clear down the inside right. Kane enters the box and should score, but slips the ball past Borjan and off the base of the right-hand post. Son volleys the rebound goalwards, but it’s hacked off the line. Alli looks to have been bundled over amid the melee, but the ball breaks to Kane, who pulls a volley across the face of goal, left to right. Son tries to bundle the ball home, but hits the bar. And finally the man who started it all, Lo Celso, crashes home! That … was intense.
32 min: Now Garcia is clattered by Rose, who was late and clumsy. But it’s just a free kick, he gets away without a booking. So each side has had one. Fair’s fair.
30 min: Dier goes up to challenge for a high ball, and clacks Pavkov in his startled coupon. He goes in the book. That was completely unnecessary. Now he’s tip-toeing gingerly along that metaphorical ribbon of censure, the disciplinary tightrope. He’ll be up on that an hour!
29 min: Ndombele is fine, all right. He nearly releases Son with a glorious slide-rule pass down the inside-left channel, but just as Son is shaping to meet it first time and shoot on goal from an inviting position, Milunovic slides in to intercept. Fine football all round.
26 min: Son is crudely stopped in his tracks by Gobeljic, and that’s a free kick just to the left of the Red Star box. Ndombele wafts the set piece into the box, and it’s eyebrowed out for a corner by Van la Perra. Lo Celso takes the corner from the right. The ball’s punched clear by Borjan, then lashed wildly high and wide by Sissoko. A sense that a goal’s coming soon, one way or another.
25 min: Well, that got the home crowd going again. Red Star needed that, because Spurs have enjoyed nearly 70 percent possession so far.
23 min: So after all that, it’s Red Star who nearly take the lead. Pavkov, who scored twice against Liverpool here last year, barges his way through a couple of poor Spurs challenges, and he’s free in the box! He opens his body and sidefoots powerfully towards the bottom right, but Gazzaniga has read his intentions well, and sticks out a strong leg to block and clear!
22 min: Sissoko drives Spurs forward, winning possession and finding Lo Celso in a central area, 25 yards from goal. Lo Celso slips the ball to Son on his left; Son drops a shoulder and drags a shot across Borjan and wide right.
21 min: Foyth and Lo Celso combine well down the right again. Foyth pushes the ball along the byline only to lose control before he can find a team-mate, and Degenek is able to clear. Most of the game is now being played in Red Star’s final third, though Spurs haven’t warmed Borjan’s hands yet. A sense that it’s only a matter of time.
19 min: Sanchez’s long pass down the middle nearly causes havoc in the Red Star box, but Borjan manages to slap the ball out of harm’s way with Son and Kane lurking, hoping to pick up the pieces. Spurs are beginning to cause Red Star a little trouble.
18 min: Lo Celso finds Foyth on the overlap down the right. Foyth’s cross isn’t all that, but it’s good enough to win the first corner of the game. Lo Celso sends a vicious inswinger into the mixer, a fine delivery, but Borjan punches clear with confidence from the middle of a packed box. Lo Celso has looked lively in these early exchanges.
16 min: Son reaches the byline down the left and scoops a dangerous ball over Borjan. It’s begging to be prodded home, but there’s nobody there in dark blue, and turns out he was offside anyway, the flag going up late.
15 min: Rose and Pavkov clash heads in the middle of the park. Ooyah oof. Totally accidental, and while Rose furrows his brow and attends to his sore neep by rubbing it with great vigour, both players look fine to continue. We play on.
13 min: Suddenly Spurs spark into life. Sissoko slips a quick ball down the inside-right channel. Ndombele shuttles it further on to Kane, who takes a stride into the box and lashes the evening’s first shot in anger into the side netting on the right.
12 min: Spurs knock it about the back for a while. They go absolutely nowhere, but that’s not really the point. They continue to work their way into this game, and are quieting down the crowd a little. Just a little, mind, it’s all relative.
10 min: Lo Celso plays a cute ball around the corner for Kane, who makes good down the right and tries to interact with Son just inside the Red Star box. But Kane leans unnecessarily on a nearby defender and it’s a pressure-releasing free kick.
8 min: Lo Celso has the ball at his feet and options ahead of him. But he can’t pick a pass. Possession’s given up to Van la Parra, who draws a foul from Lo Celso. All a bit scrappy at the moment.
6 min: Borjan launches a goal kick long. Pavkov flicks on for Garcia, who threatens to get the better of Foyth, but the Spurs man nudges a weak pass backwards towards Dier, who sorts out the bother. Another slightly uncertain moment for Foyth; a worry for Spurs unless he finds his feet soon.
4 min: Foyth hassles Rodic out on the Spurs right. The ball breaks to Kane, just inside the box, and he tries to combine with Ndombele, but Red Star swarm around and refuse to be opened up. That’s a first sortie into the Red Star half for Spurs, and a small foothold in the game after that early home flourish.
2 min: Marin attempts a dribble down the left but the Red Star captain goes down a dead end. He might have taken a little knock while doing so, and grimaces accordingly. Ah, panic over, he looks fine to continue and trots back upfield.
Here we go, then! The hosts get the ball rolling. It’s launched forward quickly, and Foyth hesitates with the ball at his feet. He’s nearly closed down by Van la Parra, but a rebound goes out for a goal kick. Red Star are soon coming back at Spurs, Garcia nearly besting Rose down the right. But Rose keeps cool and clears. A fast start from the home side, though.
The teams are out! The 1991 champions Red Star sport their world-famous red and white stripes, while Spurs are shunted into second-choice dark blue. There is, it goes without saying, one hell of an atmosphere at the Marakana. Red Star don’t lose here often. In fact they rarely concede, so let’s not be too disappointed if we don’t get another 4-4 tonight. But whatever happens, it’ll be a big test of Tottenham’s moxie. Handshakes and coin tossing to come, but we’ll be off before you know it! Incidentally, in the early kick-off in Group B, Bayern Munich have beaten Olympiacos 2-0. So they’ve qualified for the knockout stage already.
The abridged pre-match thoughts of Mauricio Pochettino. He tells BT Sport it’s the “right moment” for Giovani Lo Celso to make his full debut, having finally got himself up to full fitness. Meanwhile Son Heung-min has “moved on quick” after the distressing injury to Andre Gomes at Goodison Park. “He’s started to realise it wasn’t his fault. He is in a perfect state to perform.” One last point: it’s going to be a “tough game”.
So here’s how the players get from the changing room to the pitch at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Actually this is the NFL Tunnel Club under the East Stand, but it mirrors the Spurs Tunnel Club in the West Stand, so you get the general idea.)
And now here’s the corresponding route at Red Star’s Marakana. Good luck, Harry! Good luck, everyone!
Tottenham make five changes to the XI sent out at Everton last Sunday. Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Ben Davies drop to the bench, while Serge Aurier is out altogether. In come Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Giovani Lo Celso, Juan Foyth and captain Harry Kane, who has recovered from a virus.
Red Star Belgrade – Crvena zvezda to the purist – make three changes to the side thrashed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium two weeks ago. Midfielders Milos Vulic and Jose Canas, and striker Tomane, are replaced respectively by Njegos Petrovic and Dusan Jovancic, and Milan Pavkov.
Red Star Belgrade: Borjan, Gobeljic, Milunovic, Degenek, Rodic, Jovancic, Petrovic, Garcia, Marin, van La Parra, Pavkov.
Subs: Popovic, Pankov, Vulic, Richmond Boakye, Jander, Simic, Canas.
Tottenham Hotspur: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Sanchez, Dier, Rose, Sissoko, Ndombele, Lo Celso, Alli, Son, Kane.
Subs: Alderweireld, Vorm, Sessegnon, Eriksen, Lucas Moura, Skipp, Davies.
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro (Spain).
Spurs swatted Red Star aside a fortnight ago in north London. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min both scored twice in an easy 5-0 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Erik Lamela also getting on the scoresheet. In that sense, they should be confident of getting the victory tonight in the return match, one that’d help immensely in their quest to qualify for the knockout stage.
Nevertheless, they’ll be wary. Red Star were pasted 4-0 at Liverpool last season, yet bounced back to beat the eventual champions 2-0 in Belgrade soon after. They’re a different proposition in Serbia: they’ve won 13 of their 14 league matches so far this season, and have lost only two of their last 21 home games in Europe. And this season they’ve already got a 3-1 win over Olympiacos in their Group B bag. A home win tonight will give Red Star a boost in their hopes of reaching the last 16.
Spurs are also, that Red Star home game aside, woefully out of form. They’re struggling in the league, lost to Colchester in the League Cup, and of course went down freakishly, 7-2, to Bayern Munich last month. Factor in the harrowing events of their match at Everton last weekend – Son shaken after his involvement in Andre Gomes’s awful injury – and theirs is not a happy ship right now, for one reason or another.
But what succour a win would give last year’s finalists. A good performance tonight, and their European adventure, along with their season, is back on track. It’s a big one for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, as the group stage enters the business end. It’s on!
Kick off: 8pm GMT, 9pm at the Stadion Rajko Mitić in Belgrade.